Prepare your windscreen for winter

Cracks, chips and smears to your car’s windscreen can all prove dangerous when it comes to winter driving. Les Roberts has the low down on how to prevent them and keep safe.

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The dark nights and freezing temperatures mean that winter is well and truly upon us – and while you may have topped up with anti-freeze and switched to winter tyres, have you considered the effect the cold has on your windscreen and what you’d do if something went wrong?

If you have any chips in your windscreen get them repaired as soon as possible. They can easily turn into a crack in extreme cold, meaning you’ll have to have the whole thing replaced.

But don’t panic if you do get a crack! The important thing is to first check your insurance policy for glass damage cover. Your insurer may have a preferred partner who will do the work for you, and they may refuse to cover work done elsewhere, so make sure you stick to their guidelines. You’ll most likely pay an excess for both repairs and replacements, with the rest of the cost being met by your insurer.

Replacement screens aren’t as much hassle as you may think. The process takes about an hour, with another hour for the glue to set. After that, you’re free to drive! Finally, if you’re worried about your no claims discount, then relax – the majority of insurers do not penalise you for making a claim on your windscreen.

So don’t get caught out by the cold – here are some of our top tips for avoiding damage.

Top Tips

  • If your windscreen wipers are frozen stuck to the windscreen, work them free manually as you could overload the motor by switching them on – this is also true for heavy snow.
  • Never pour hot or boiling liquid onto a frozen windscreen as the sudden change in temperature can cause it to crack – the last thing you need!
  • Don’t fall into the trap of clearing a small section of the windscreen if you’re in a hurry – this is both hazardous and illegal. By law, the windscreen, side windows and mirrors must be thoroughly cleared and demisted before you set off on your journey.  You could face a fine of £1,000 for driving with restricted vision – or even worse, you could cause an accident.
  • Avoid using things like credit cards or a CD case to clear your windscreen. These can leave tiny scratches that obscure your vision by magnifying oncoming headlights or the low winter sun.
  • Always make sure your windscreen washer bottle is full with water and a suitable anti-freeze or cleaning solution, and make sure that your wiper blades are in good condition.
  • Regularly clean the inside of your windows as dust and grime on the inside of the screen really intensifies dazzle, particularly with the low winter sun.
  • If all else fails, keep some good quality sunglasses in your car at all times and don’t forget to use the car’s windscreen visor to help improve visibility.

So always make sure you allow extra time in your morning routine to fully de-ice your car - it's a process that will take only five minutes to do properly.

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